The following email was sent today from Chuck Columbus, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, to all Kaiser Permanente employees:
We were notified Monday night by 21 unions, which comprise a significant portion of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, that they have decided to leave the Coalition, effective immediately, and will not take part in National Bargaining. The unions have said the reason for their action is a conflict among various member unions of the Coalition. You are likely to hear and see press releases, flyers, and other material expressing the differing points of view of all the unions involved.
We are considering what this development means, and will speak with each union’s leadership over the next few weeks or so to ensure we understand their perspective, interests, and the potential implications of their decisions. We will keep all parties informed as we decide the appropriate next steps.
While this announcement raises some questions, there are also many things that remain true:
- Without the participation of all the unions in the Labor Management Partnership, the scheduled kick-off meetings this week did not proceed. However, we remain dedicated to bargaining in good faith, and to reaching agreements that continue to make Kaiser Permanente a great place to work and receive high-quality care.
- We don’t know if this dispute among Coalition unions will result in a permanent change in our Labor Management Partnership — the oldest, largest and most successful of its kind. But we continue to believe strongly, based on our last 20 years of history, that working in partnership with the unions that represent our employees will achieve the best results for our members, patients, and employees.
- We anticipate that the Unit-Based Teams, LMP Councils and Committees — and the important work they do for Kaiser Permanente, our patients, and members — will continue.
- The 2015 National Agreement between Kaiser Permanente and all of the signatory unions is still in effect.
It is not appropriate for Kaiser Permanente to take sides in a dispute among the Coalition unions. Instead, we need to allow the Coalition’s members to resolve their conflict, hopefully quickly and positively.
In the meantime, we urge everyone involved in the important work of our Labor Management Partnership, especially our Unit Based Teams, to continue that work without interruption or distraction. Our work together is too important: let’s not stray from our focus on delivering the highest quality, most affordable care and service we can to our members and patients. Thank you.